Partner 4: HWU (Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)


Brief Description of The Legal Entity: HWU is a modern technological University located in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Orkney, Dubai and shortly Malaysia. It focuses exclusively on the disciplines of science, engineering, business, language, In the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise it’s Engineering was rated 6th in the UK and 2nd in Scotland for research power. It prides itself on strong links with industry, and research lead teaching.

Main Tasks in The Project: HWU will lead development of AUV communication and co-ordination activities in WP3, site security monitoring in WP4, and contribute to automatic target recognition and data fusion in WP4. It will also operate the Nessie V AUV in support of field trials in WP7, and input experience on hardware in the loop and service oriented multi-vehicle architectures.

Previous Experience Related to These Tasks: The Ocean Systems Laboratory is an internationally recognised centre located in the School of Engineering and Physical Science. The 30 strong team specialises in subsea robotics and signal processing for Ocean applications. Particular strengths are in; autonomous underwater vehicles; autonomy and the linkage of perception and action; sonar modelling, design and signal processing (including biologically inspired device); computer aided detection/classification in sonar and video; data fusion; navigation data processing (e.g. using SLAM methods); automated mission planning; visual servoing; data visualisation; intelligent diagnostic systems; augmented reality methods for training, mission analysis and operation. The laboratory boasts a multi-disciplinary team who partner with UK, European and US industrial and research groups on multiple projects supporting Offshore, Naval and Marine Science applications. Major sponsors include Oil Companies, the United States Navy, NATO, the European Union UK national funding bodies (EPSRC) and the UK Ministry of Defence. It has 1st class test tank facilities and regularly operates 3 AUVs & one ROV for trials in Lochs and offshore. Over a 20 year period it has successfully spun out 5 companies including SeeByte and Hydrason

David M. Lane (BSc 1980. PhD 1986) is Professor in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) and founding Director of the University’s Ocean Systems Laboratory. In 1979 he worked offshore in the North Sea as diver/maintainer for British Oceanics Ltd, and from 1980-82 as a Development Engineer at Ferranti Ltd. From 1982 he held a series of research and academic appointments, culminating in a Professorial Chair at Heriot-Watt University in 1998, and visiting Professorships at Florida Atlantic University in 1999 and Edinburgh University from 2006. In 1995 he took up Directorship of the University’s Ocean Systems Laboratory and lead it’s development to a staff of 30 with over £10M total funding from the UK Research Councils, Ministry of Defence, European Union and US Office of Naval Research. Previously he has inspired and co-ordinated 3 EU Programmes in underwater robotics (AMADEUS, AMASON, AUTOTRACKER), has been involved in numerous others, and currently co-ordinates PANDORA. In 2001 he founded SeeByte Ltd ( and as CEO until 2010 lead the company’s organic evolution from startup to a multi-million dollar organization, growing at an average 45% pa during the recession, continually cash positive, with 75% of its business in exports to three continents and offices in Edinburgh, San Diego and Seattle. Under his leadership SeeByte won their first $8-figure export contract (US Navy) in 2009 and in 2010 an $8-figure new autonomous vehicle development for the offshore oil industry, in partnership with Subsea 7. In 2007 he became President of SeeByte Inc. In 1995 he was H.Burr Steinbach Visiting Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and in 2007 was Scientific Advisor to the NATO Undersea Research Centre, La Spezia, Italy. He has been elected to Fellowships of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Geographical Society, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Society for Underwater Technology and the Court of Heriot-Watt University. He regularly accepts invitations to present, most recently at IEEE ICAR, IROS, BCBT Summer School and the Acoustical Society of America events in 2011. In 2011 he was recipient of the Praxis Unico Impact Award under the Achieved Impact category for SeeByte.